Playbiting

14 January 2013

Playbiting is normal puppy behaviour. Puppies will use their mouths in play with their litter mates but quickly learn that if they bite too hard play will stop.

We need to teach our new puppies that human skin is much more delicate than another puppy’s and the only way they can learn that is by practicing how gentle they need to be with us.

We want to teach our puppy to be gentle before we teach them not to mouth us. That way they learn what is termed as ‘bite inhibition’ or how to have a soft mouth.

This takes consistency from all the family. Rough play especially involving your hands will give a mixed message. If your puppy is gently holding your hand in their mouth or licking, then acknowledge that with gentle praise. If your puppy starts using your hand as a chew toy, remove yourself by standing up or turning away and only returning to pet your dog a couple of minutes later when they are calmer. This can take lots of repetitions for the message to get through but is worth it in the end.

Some puppies find it hard to deal with frustration and will try harder to get your attention. Try to predict when this is likely to happen and before they get too excited calm then down by giving them something to do such as giving them a stuffed Kong or calming them with some training.

Keep play sessions short and sweet and make sure your puppy isn’t generally over stimulated with rough play.or by being over tired.

If all else fails try a Time Out.

© Karen England2013

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